Lawrence Mayor DePeña, City Council President Laplante Meet with White House Officials to Promote Naturalization

Lawrence’s Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) Ranks in the Top 10 for Core Based Groups Eligible to Become U.S. Citizens

LAWRENCE, MA – Mayor Brian A. DePeña and City Council President Marc Laplante met with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and White House officials to join efforts to mitigate the barriers that prevent green card holders become U.S. Citizens.

“I gratefully welcome this collective effort with USCIS, DHS, and the White House officials to help our lawful permanent residents become U.S. citizens. This initiative will continue paving the way for the pursuit of the American Dream for many residents. This is what America is about – a nation of opportunities and social justice for all,” said Mayor DePeña.

Known as the “Immigrant City,” Lawrence was incorporated in 1847 as a town and then as a city in 1853. According to the U.S. Census of 2020, the City of Lawrence has an estimated population of 89,143, of which 79,902 are Hispanic/Latino. The city has 48.3% naturalized U.S. citizens, and 51.7% are not U.S. citizens. The Spanish-speaking population is 75.5%, and the median household income is $45,045.

According to the Office of Immigration Statistics, Lawrence has thousands of eligible Green Card holders from Guatemala, Colombia, Haiti, Vietnam, and the Dominican Republic that meet the requirements to become U.S. Citizens.

“Immigration has always been the driving force behind the success of the United States, and becoming a U.S. citizen makes our country more successful and secured,” said USCIS District N11 Director.


On February 2, 2021, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14012 –Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans. “Consistent with our character as a Nation of opportunity and of welcome, it is essential to ensure that our laws and policies encourage full participation by immigrants, including refugees, in our civic life; that immigration processes and other benefits are delivered effectively and efficiently; and that the Federal Government eliminates sources of fear and other barriers that prevent immigrants from accessing government services available to them. Our Nation is enriched socially and economically by the presence of immigrants, and we celebrate with them as they take the important step of becoming United States citizens. The Federal Government should develop welcoming strategies that promote integration, inclusion, and citizenship and embrace the full participation of the newest Americans in our democracy.”

“Since Lawrence’s beginning about 175 years ago, we have been known as the ‘Immigrant City.’ This remains true today. We have thousands of residents who are here lawfully and are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. I support the effort to encourage these neighbors to be U.S. citizens and fully participate in our American experience,” said City Council President Laplante.

James White, Principal of the Lawrence Adult Learning Center and member of the Lawrence Mayor’s ESOL Task Force, indicated that “to remove the hurdles that discourage LPRs to apply for U.S. citizenship, USCIS needs to help more local organizations like here at the Adult Learning Center to become authorized providers like to increase the access to an affordable or free legal representation to answer questions related to assisting with the N-400 Form.”

Participants from USCIS-DHS and the White House:

· Denis Riordan, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) District N11 Director

· Kelly Ryan, Chair of the White House Interagency Naturalization Working Group, Senior Advisor

· Eva Millona, Chief of the Office of Citizenship, Partnership and Public Engagement,

· Anna Hinken, NGO Engagement Lead, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Partnership and Engagement

· Shanita Tucker, Lawrence Field Office Director

· John McCarthy, USCIS District 11, Community Relations Officer

· Cara (Carrie) Selby, Associate Director of the External Affairs Directorate

Participants from City Hall:

· Mayor Brian A. DePena

· Mark LaPlante, City Council President

· Octavien Spanner, Senior Advisor of Policies and Government Affairs

· Jhovanny Martes, Mayor’s Assistant

· Awilda Pimentel, Acting Director of Community Development

· Jose Javier, Business Development Consultant

Note: In September of 2022, USCIS will release the numbers of Lawful Permanent Residents in Lawrence by nationality that are eligible to apply for U.S citizenship.

For any questions, please contact the Director of Communications, Nestor Castillo, at (978) 771-9773 or